Work on two key-grade separators begins in Srinagar

Work being started. -Excelsior/Shakeel
Work being started. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Suhail Bhat

SRINAGAR June 30: The work on the first two-grade separators at Nowgan and Bemina junctions along the Srinagar expressway bypass on NH44 has begun after a delay of more than a year, while the third one at Sanat Nagar is awaiting approval from the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highway.
To ease traffic congestion at crucial intersections including Bemia, Sanat Nagar, and Nowgam, the National Highway Authority of India( NHAI) recommends building three 3.23 km flyovers in Srinagar along NH-44 for an estimated cost of roughly Rs 100 crores in 2020.
While the Bemia and Nowgam flyovers are now under construction, the Sanat Nagar grade separator is awaiting government approval. “These two grade separators’ construction has just recently begun, yet it is already advancing quickly. Within a year, we want to have these projects finished. Third grade-separator at Sanat Nagar is likely to receive clearance this year, and work will begin in accordance with that.” Rafiq Ahmad, Chief Engineer, Roads and Buildings Department, told Excelsior.
He informed that two grade separators were approved in the yearly plan for national highway construction in the previous fiscal year, and “there is no dearth of funds for the projects.
When asked about the Sanat Nagar grade separator, he said it was part of the 543 annual plan for the current fiscal year. “The plan includes building two bypass roads, two missing bridges, and other improvements. When the government gives its consent, work will start, “he said.
The projects were approved by the then Roads and Buildings Minister, Syed Altaf Bukhari, in 2018. However, the projects have been facing delays since then.
After the government approved a Rs 574.16 crore yearly plan for 2020-21 for National Highway works in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) approached the central government to begin construction of these flyovers in 2020. However, after almost a year, the government recently approved the construction of two flyovers.
The project was initially planned to be funded by the Asian Development Bank. Later, it was determined that the NHAI would manage the project’s operations while the central government would finance the projects.
These crossings have been a constant source of concern for commuters, who are frequently stuck for hours in traffic jams at these intersections. The junctions were so inconvenient that the traffic police recently constructed experimental diversions at these locations, but they continue to cause problems for commuters.
Locals say the projects would improve transportation in Srinagar city. “We are happy that something is being done on these junctions. The projects should be completed on time and should not face delays just like other developmental works in the region,” a commuter said.